We remain optimistic that we will explore our travel wish lists in the foreseeable future after the COVID restrictions pass. Planning a trip never fails to put us in a positive mood, so we would like to share how we spent the Regensburg stop of our Danube River Cruise a couple of years back.
What were our options?
Our cruise offered several onshore excursions – some as part of the package, others optional that can be booked separately. We considered the three major ones below:
- Regensburg Walking Tour – One of the excursions included in our package explores this well-preserved medieval city. The total duration is between 1.5 to 3 hours, depending on the pace of the group.
- Weltenburg Abbey & the Danube Narrows – This optional five-hour tour takes you to a tranquil 7th-century monastery after a short boat ride from Kelheim and through the scenic area of the Danube Narrows. The river cuts through the mountains, carving the narrowest and steepest section and providing a lovely view of white cliffs on route to the abbey.
- Microbreweries of Bavaria – A three-hour walking tour, visiting some of Bavaria’s best-loved breweries with classic Biergarten fare. Regensburg boasts of five breweries and many local producers. During the walk, the local guide gives a brief introduction to Bavaria’s lively beer culture with an opportunity to taste Bavarian tapas and local cheese delicacies.
What we chose to do
When planning our Regensburg stop, we realized that one of our close friends lives in an area two hours away by car. It was a perfect opportunity to meet and catch up, not having seen each other for ages. We joined the Regensburg Walking Tour in the morning and freed up our afternoon to meet her and her family.
Our Regensburg Walking Tour
Our ship docked close to the city center, saving us a lot of time getting to the places of interest. The weather forecast included some showers, so we grabbed umbrellas provided by the thoughtful cruise staff before heading out. We met our local tour guide at the dock when we disembarked from the ship.
We started the walk along the cobblestone streets of this well-preserved city recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our first stop was the 12th-century Old Stone Bridge, the 16-arch medieval engineering masterpiece used by the Crusaders centuries ago. To this day, the bridge still carries traffic connecting the other side of the river with the Old Town and provides a perfect vantage point of the skyline on both sides.
We continued our stroll, admiring remnants of the Roman city walls erected by Marcus Aurelius upon its founding. We walked past the Old Town Hall, charming atriums of some buildings as well as one with an impressive David and Goliath mural on its façade.
We last stopped at the Gothic St. Peter’s Cathedral, a structural beauty with stained glass windows. We can still see at the top of the cathedral the Donkey Tower, a remnant of the former Cathedral that was left to support the current one.
Catching Up With Friends
Just as we had completed the tour, we saw our friend’s car drove by the front of the Cathedral – perfect timing! We headed to a restaurant that served one of the best sausages, potato salad, and freshly baked rolls, which we washed down with the perfect glass of light beer. After a hearty lunch and catching up, we drove up to Weltenburg Abbey and the Danube Narrows – one of the cruise company’s optional tours. Our friend knows where the best views are, far from the usual tourist crowd, which worked perfectly to our preference.
Weltenburg Abbey, one of Germany’s oldest monasteries, features a gilded altar, elegant marble interior, and masterful paintings of biblical scenes. The abbey also operates a beer brewery since its founding in the year 1050. Its brew named Anno 1050″ commemorates foundation year.
After touring the abbey, we hiked up a hill close by. The hike gave us a good workout, and the hilltop rewarded us a panoramic view of the area, looking out to quaint German villages on the horizon.
After basking in the countryside’s beauty, we headed to KunstHaus Abensberg, an art museum designed by architect and Hundertwasser student Peter Pelikan. The gracefully leaning and colorful tower serves as one of the main attractions in the central town of Abensberg. A few steps away, an artful Biergarten entrance lets you view the Kuchlbauer Tower, the trademark of KuchlBauer’s World of Beer. Its whimsical circular architecture with protruding windows and golden onion-shaped dome made us feel pleasantly intoxicated despite being sober. Beer and art seem to be a perfect combination.
A short video from Regensburg Tourism below gives you a peek into what this Unesco World Heritage Site offers.
Interesting facts about Regensburg
Regensburg acts as the capital of Oberpfalz, one of the seven districts of Bavaria in southeast Germany. Founded by the Romans way back in 179 AD, it is often referred to as Italy’s most northerly city. The Romans called it earlier Casta Regina, which translates to “Fortress by the River Regen.”
The city prides itself on its well-preserved medieval core, having been relatively spared from bombings during World War II. Current day visitors will be awed by its historical landmarks and stunning architecture, such as the 12th century Stone Bridge used by Crusaders on their way to the Holy Land and the 13th century Regensburg Cathedral with its fine Gothic architecture. It is also interesting to note that Pope Benedict XVI calls the city his hometown.
How to get there
Regensburg can be easily reached by train from the two nearest airports – the smaller Airport Nuernberg (Nürnberg – NUE) or the international Munich Airport (München – Muc).
From Munich, there is a direct train connecting Munich Airport and Regensburg Hauptbahnhof. There are also bus and train combination options and commercial shuttle service. If you arrive via the Nürnberg airport, you can take a train from Nürnberg Hauptbahnhof to Regensburg Hauptbahnhof.
If you love driving through the countryside, you have the option of taking your own car or renting out one for the trip. Check out a useful resource below if you opt for the latter.
Other places to explore in the area
You can also venture out to nearby cities in the region if you have more time. Some interesting nearby places you may want to consider are:
- Nuremberg – A full-day excursion will allow you to explore the German countryside of Nuremberg’s Old Town, where you can delve into this medieval city’s complicated past. This city has evolved from being the site where Nazi rallies were held during World War II to becoming the toy-making capital of Europe.
- Munich – A full-day visit to this Bavarian capital near the foothills of the Alps will provide you a peek into its cultural and historical attractions. Some of the highlights you can explore are the Olympiapark (site of the 1972 Olympics), Königsplatz, public buildings of imperial architecture, the Old Town Hall, and the Viktualienmarkt, the city’s most famous market.
A full day at Regensburg
History, nature, art, authentic German food, and great company – we had these all in one day, registering 14k steps in our Fitbits. We drove back to Regensburg in time for our boarding time and couldn’t be happier with how our day went.
Whether it is part of a river cruise stop, a road trip, or a getaway vacation to this part of Europe, your options on how to spend and optimize your stay are unlimited. Start planning your trip to Regensburg, Bavaria, or other parts of Germany. Check out available resources through the search facility below.
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